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KNOW YOUR MLA: Maninagar MLA promises LED streetlights, cardiac dept

Traditionally a BJP bastion and a seat from where Prime Minister Narendra Modi contested thrice, it was very difficult for MLA Suresh Patel, who has won the second time in a row, to look at areas that needed development. Two years, and now Patel, who won with a margin of 75199 votes, has charted out plans for his constituency.Quick enough to respond when asked his priorities, he said, “Modification of LG hospital by setting up a department of cardiology, completion of work to ensure no waterlogging during monsoon and LED lights on streets are my priorities. Since the PM used to represent this constituency, the place has seen much development work. Since I took over this seat over the last two years, we have installed machines and improved roads to reduce waterlogging. Over 50% of work has been done. The remaining work will be finished in a year.”Suresh Patel of BJP took over the seat in 2014 after Modi quit as the legislative assembly member of Maninagar.

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Mumbai-based ICT beats 150 institutes to top NAAC Rankings

In a commendable feat, Mumbai-based Institute of Chemical Technology (ICT) has got the highest rating in the recent accreditation by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC).With a CGPA of 3.77 out of 4 and an A++ grade, the institute has topped the list of 151 institutes in the three round of accreditation by the Council.The NAAC inspection took place between November 17 -19 and the rankings were recently uploaded on the council’s official website.Speaking to DNA, GD Yadav, Vice Chancellor, ICT said that the institute has achieved the feat on the basis of its research and innovation. “Our institute has shown sheer excellence in the field of research and academics. We also have a state of art infrastructure and the senior-most faculty members. All this put together has helped us get a good grade” added Yadav.Recently, the institute featured in the BRICS QS universities ranking 2018, where it was ranked at the 118th position. Yadav said that the institute is now working on two other campuses – one in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha and another in Marathwada, Maharashtra.“The two new campuses would help further research and innovation at the institute. Our students and researchers have been working closely with government agencies on various issues from water purification to solid waste management” he added.Over the last two years, several colleges in Mumbai and the state have sought their NAAC accreditation over the last two years. As per the report released on the NAAC website, more than 42% of the total colleges who had applied for the accreditation were from Maharashtra.
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Film producer hangs to death blames loan shark

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A month after self-immolation by a four-member family in front of the Tirunelveli Collector’s office following harassment by a money lender, a Tamil film producer committed suicide at his house on Wednesday here blaming a Madurai-based film financier, who charged exorbitant interest for the loans which pushed the producer to take the extreme step.The alleged suicide of Ashok Kumar has shocked the movie industry, bringing back grim memories of the alleged suicide of well-known producer G Venkateswaran alias GV, brother of renowned film director Mani Ratnam.Kumar, who was a relative of well-known actor-director M Sasikumar, was found hanging in his apartment in Chennai on Tuesday. In his suicide note, Kumar blamed film financier Anbuchezhian for charging exorbitant interest on loans given to his production company.”The most sinful act I committed was to borrow loan from Anbuchezhian . He charged more than the interest rates over the last seven years. However, over the last six months, Anbuchezhian insulted and humiliated me. He sent his people home to threaten elders and women in my family (sic),” Kumar’s suicide note read. Stating that he was neither a coward nor a selfish person, he wrote, “I had only two options. One was to kill, and the other was to commit suicide. If I had to kill, the family will have to suffer. So, I chose the latter (sic).”

After brief respite, city air quality deteriorates again

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After a brief respite for Delhiites over the weekend, the air quality once again turned ‘very poor’ on Monday as more vehicles hit the streets on the first working day of the week. Experts, however, hoped that the situation will improve in the coming days as entry of pollutants from external sources has been stopped.With an alarming score of 326, the Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) National Air Quality Index slotted Delhi in the ‘very poor’ zone. While it was 292 on Sunday, the count was 298 on Saturday.An AQI value between 301-400 is classified as ‘very poor’. Prolonged exposure to such air can cause respiratory illnesses, according to the CPCB . “The drizzle received in areas surrounding Delhi helped wash out the accumulated particulate. Hence, the city was able to breathe in the season’s best quality air over the last two days. However, the impact of rain is slowly fading, and the temperature has plummeted as well. Also, moisture has marginally increased.”The current air quality is a play of those meteorological conditions and emissions from internal sources,” SAFAR project director Gufran Beig said.He further informed that even though the level of pollutants is likely to increase over the next two days, it would not have a significant bearing on air quality. Incursion of emissions from external sources, such as paddy stubble burning, has stopped and the north-westerly wind is blowing, which is bringing in the cold wave from upper Himalayas.System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting and Research (SAFAR), an agency of the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences, recorded the average values of PM 2.5 and PM 10 at 154 and 243 micrograms per cubic metre, as against the prescribed standards 60 and 100. PM 2.5 and PM 10 are descriptions for ultrafine particulates that remain suspended in the air and enter the respiratory system with inhalation, causing a host of complications, both pulmonary and cardiovascular.Delhi has been battling one of the worst pollution crisis as thick blanket of smog has covered the Capital and surrounding areas, prompting the government to take measures, including shutting down of schools and running more Metro trains. The air quality has been abysmally low for more than a fortnight, triggering major health issues among residents, including cough, congestion, constant headaches, burning eyes etc.The Supreme Court-mandated Environment Pollution Prevention and Control (EPCA), had even asked states including Haryana, Punjab, UP, and Rajasthan to stop all construction and demolition activities and sprinkle water on roads and at construction sites, besides banning the entry of trucks to Delhi (except those carrying essential commodities).RAIN EFFECTSAFAR project director Gufran Beig said, “The drizzle received in areas surrounding Delhi helped wash out the accumulated particulate. Hence, the city was able to breathe in the season’s best quality air over the last two days. However, the impact of rain is slowly fading, and the temperature has plummeted as well. Also, moisture has marginally increased.”

Together, we are truly Extraordinary!

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Someone has beautifully said, “Extraordinary belongs to those who create it.” These words aptly summarise our belief in creating a world that is filled with extraordinary possibilities.Our new brand ideology, ‘Extraordinary Together,’ reflects our vision to provide unified brand experience and delight to consumers across the world by creating extraordinary entertainment and experiences that inspire to transcend the ordinary.It is not an evolution of our identity, but it’s a revolution. It is rooted in the philosophy and belief that from collaboration comes the strength to deliver the extraordinary. Being a global media and entertainment conglomerate, while our interests span across diverse verticals and businesses, we believe that our ability to win resides in us being able to effectively come together. The fresh look of ZEE represents our mission of unifying the world with entertainment. The circle symbolises continuity and inclusiveness, while the colour Amethyst represents creativity and transformation. This colourful explosion of creative energy signifies ZEE’s exuberance.It’s a huge leap forward for us, reflecting the true essence of ZEE as a media and entertainment powerhouse and the extraordinary steps taken by each of its internal and external stakeholders. It’s not just about the number of years we have completed, but about the number of hearts we have touched along the way, during this journey. It’s not just about the number of countries we have reached, but about the journey that we have undertaken to make this happen. It is just simply about being together, to achieve something extraordinary. With a team of over 3,400 brilliant people working for ZEE across the globe — who are truly committed to entertain the world — we have risen as a global content company. Our global presence and reach amongst viewers says a lot about our strength. We also acknowledge the presence and support of our peers in the industry, who share our dream of entertaining the world.While we have achieved immense success over the last 25 years, our efforts in creating world class content will continue forever, as we embrace this new ideology and philosophy in creating something truly ‘Extraordinary Together’.—The author is MD & CEO, ZEE Entertainment Enterprises Ltd

Now, app cab driver check every month

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Mobile aggregators have changed the dynamics of travel for Mumbaikars but on the flipside, due to the several complaints of molestation and harassment cases against women passengers, proper background check of drivers has come to the fore again. Over the last several months, the biggest problem faced by the government is getting details out from aggregators like Uber and Ola, who according to the officials from Transport department, share limited information. Now, for the first time, a basic skeletal of details that needs to be provided by the App-based aggregators has been prescribed by the four-member BC Khatua Committee, in which data should be updated and shared every month. In a bid to strengthen safety of passengers, the committee has categorically stated that the aggregator companies need to sign a consent letter with the driver or owner of a vehicle, who join them.The RTO officials claim that over the last 2-3 years there are nearly 4 lakh vehicles that have joined the aggregator platforms in Mumbai and its metropolitan region but then there is little detail about the owners and drivers. Now, the report mentions the need for the aggregators to send a soft copy of the number of taxis plied by them and drivers working for them.With details of each and every driver right from his name, address and government identity proof will fill the loophole.“This will be updated every month before 7th. This is an important point taken up by the committee as we have been struggling to get correct numbers which would help us in maintaining data for transport planning,” said an official from Transport department. Apart from the safety aspect, the travel patterns too have changed since App based aggregators arrived in the scene. The government wants to create a mobility plan and maintain data for the same.

Revaluation yet to catch up desired pace

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As close to 50,000 students under University of Mumbai are waiting for their results post revaluation, the work remains snail paced. Varsity officials said that while there were some delays due to holidays work has started now.Speaking to DNA, Arjun Ghatule, Director Board of Examinations and Evaluation said “We have received around 46,000 applications for revaluation this year of which over 36,000 papers have been uploaded onto the portal. However, over the last few days, owing to several public holidays, evaluation is yet to catch pace. We are hoping to speed it up soon,” added Ghatule.

Cong woos farmers with farm loan waiver promise

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Accusing the BJP government of failing to provide the right prices to farmers for their produce, the Congress on Tuesday announced that it would waive off loans for the farmers if the party is elected to power in the upcoming assembly elections.Addressing the media, Gujarat Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki said the farming activity has taken a huge hit in the state in the last 10 years.”The number of farmers in the state has fallen by 3.55 lakh over the last 10 years. Over the same period, number of farm labourers has gone up by 17 lakh. The BJP government has been making tall claims, but the reality is that agricultural output has been on the decline. This is the reason why instead of exporting, we are forced to import certain food items,” Solanki said.He said that ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP had promised that farmers would be paid 50% more than their input costs, but nothing in reality happened. He said that fertilizer, diesel, and other inputs have become costlier, but the minimum support price being paid to farmers is insufficient to even cover costs.Solanki also criticised deputy chief minister Nitin Patel for his statement a few months ago that farmers in the state are well off and do not need a loan waiver.”The truth is that farmers are in a bad state, and it is our promise that we will waive off farmers’ loans when we come to power,” he announced. Effective implementation of minimum support price policy, free canal water for irrigation, 16-hour electricity supply to farmers, and construction of Narmada canal network on top priority, were the other announcements by the Congress, which has been out of power in the state since 1995.Alleging several irregularities in land resurvey undertaken by the state government, former Gujarat Congress president Arjun Modhwadia said a fresh survey would be conducted so that farmers do not end up as losers.Former MLA Siddharth Patel alleged that more than 7,000 farmers in the state have committed suicide in the last 10 years.OPPOSITION ATTACKSGujarat Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki says number of farmers in the state has fallen by 3.55 lakh over the last 10 years.
Ahead of the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, the BJP had promised that farmers would be paid 50% more than their input costs, but nothing in reality happened, he alleged.

62 dengue cases in 4 days

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The city has recorded 62 dengue cases over the last four days, according to the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) health department. The city recorded 164 dengue cases till September 5, and three patients — including two children – 1.5-year-old from Dharavi, 9-year-old from Juhu and a 34-year-old man from Bandra — succumbed to the infection, the department said.Around 102 cases were reported till September 11, the civic authority said. The cases of dengue rise sharply every year, especially after the monsoon. The maximum number of cases are in September, October, and November.The data also reveals that there has been 34 cases and two deaths due to leptospirosis registered in the city. Between September 1 to 15, over 1,659 people were admitted to civic-run hospitals. According to civic body authority, various surveys were carried out after the heavy August 29 flood.

Committee formed to probe Desai’s decisions

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>State government on Monday appointed a one person committee of KP Bakshi, former additional chief secretary (Home), to inquire into the allegations made by the Opposition about state Industries Minister Subhash Desai denotifying the MIDC land.DNA had first reported about 60,000 acres of land being denotified over the last three years by the Industries Minister Subhash Desai.Leader of Opposition in legislative council Dhananjay Munde termed the decision to appoint a one-person committee as a farce. He said that when the minister is still holding the post, how can one expect the inquiry to be independent.

Rains return to Delhi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Rains made a comeback in Delhi today, ending a nearly week-long dry spell and bringing the temperature down to a comfortable 26 degrees Celsius. The weather office has forecast thunderstorm with showers later in the day. The maximum temperature is likely to be around 34 degrees Celsius. The city received 23.4 mm rainfall over the last 24 hours, an official of the Safdarjung weather observatory said. According to private weather agency Skymet, light intensity rains will continue at a few places over Delhi and the National Capital Region for the next 24 to 48 hours. Humidity level, which was 100 per cent at 8.30 am today, will also remain on the higher side, it said. Yesterday, the maximum temperature was recorded at 37.8 degrees Celsius while the minimum was 29 degrees Celsius.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Kitchens hit again, as onion shortfall leads to price rise

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After tomatoes, soaring prices of another kitchen staple is bringing unrelenting tears. The cost of onions has gone up from Rs 9 per kilogram in the wholesale market to Rs 27.Until last month, wholesale dealers were selling onions for Rs 9 and Rs 5 per kg, depending on the size of the produce. The stock was being sold for Rs 16-20 in the retail market. Since monsoon, however, prices have hit the roof, with wholesale rate of Rs 9 per kg variety now going for Rs 27 and the Rs 5 variety being sold at Rs 15.According to onion trader Rajender Kumar, limited supply from south India is one of the main reasons for the price rise. He said that many farmers did not grow onions after seeing their crop fetching extremely low prices of Re1 or Rs 2 over the last few years.”Knowing that they would hardly make any profit off onions, many farmers did not grow the crop this year. There has been 40 to 50 per cent reduction in onion crop in south India,” Kumar said.Sporadic rainfall in states of Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka brought the crop percentage further down to 30 per cent, he said.Now, onions are being retailed for anywhere between Rs 30-40 per kg due to a dip in available produce.Another trader, Ashok Kaushik hinted at hoarding activity. “Marketeers and farmers both know that if they control the supply, they can make neat profits at a later stage. Unlike tomatoes, onions have a longer shelf life. Some of them are deliberately releasing limited produce and stocking up for later sale ,” he said.

Over 27L engg seats vacant over last 3 years

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Over 27 lakh engineering seats have been lying vacant across various engineering colleges in the country over the last three years, an All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) data said on Thursday.According to AICTE, 9,07,632 seats were vacant across various colleges in the country in the academic year 2016-17. The figure at 8,97,914 was comparably low for the year 2015-16 .There are 10,361 engineering institutions in the country, that are approved by AICTE, with a total intake of 37,01,366.While the number of seats for undergraduate students have declined, there has been an increase in the number of vacant seats for the post-graduate courses. “If you look at the figures for the last three years, there has not been much change in the number of undergraduate seats as compared to that of the post-graduate seats,” said a senior AICTE official.The ministry of human resource development has been trying to inspire the engineering graduates by introducing mandatory internships and making the course more industry relevant. AICTE has devised a 10-year plan for reviving engineering education, including expansion of technical education from socio-economic perspective, inclusiveness in technical education, increasing the role of information and communications technology in education and accessing the needs of the industry.

Assessment rate falls, over 4 lakh varsity students await results

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as the deadline for the onscreen assessment is over on July 31, the number of papers evaluated in the day went down drastically on Wednesday as only 26,169 answer sheets could be assessed until evening. This leaves a total of 2,70,834 papers yet to be evaluated. With only 222 results declared so far, 4,30,000 students under the university are still awaiting results.Over the last one week, 63,233 answer books were assessed and moderated on July 31 — the last day as per the deadline set by the Governor. The number has been falling ever since. University officials attributed this to several reasons like the end of non-instructional days, low faculty count for subjects with a large number of pending evaluations etc.”With the end of non-instructional days, teachers are getting lesser time to evaluate papers as they are doing the assessment work after finishing their teaching work. This might be one of the reasons why the number has gone down. Some subjects like Law in which a large number of answer sheets are still pending have a comparatively fewer number of faculty members,” said a university official.While the results of TY Bsc were announced on Monday, the official sheet uploaded on MU’s official website shows that results of a large number of students are ‘reserved’.”Teachers seem to be tired of the whole evaluation process due to a series of delays and glitches. This is slowly reflecting in the numbers” said a senior professor from a suburban college.Only 1719 faculty members of the total 15,599 teachers who are tagged into the system assessed papers on Wednesday. Several students found that their results were held in ‘Reserve’.

DNA Micro Edit: The false bait of ‘integrated colleges’

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The state education department recently put out a public notice warning parents not to take admission into ‘so-called integrated colleges’, and also stated that the department would not be responsible for any problem occurring in future with respect to such colleges.Over the last few years, as the integrated coaching model is becoming more popular, it has led to the mushrooming of a large number of coaching institutes operating within the premises of prominent colleges, often flouting all the norms.In simple words, integrated coaching promises offer a college and a coaching institute under the same roof. Most colleges promising integrated coaching compromise on the state board curriculum while focusing only on competitive exams. The increasing competition for competitive exams like the JEE for engineering and NEET for medicine are giving rise to the increasing popularity of such a model. In July 2016, the Maharashtra Coaching Owners Association (MCOA) filed a writ petition in the Bombay High Court against coaching classes that were running within college premises without the requisite permissions.However, despite several complaints from student wings and class owners, there has been very little action against these coaching institutes and colleges. One of the major reasons for the inaction is that the most important stakeholders in the whole system, parents, are not willing to speak about the nexus. With cut-throat competition for marks, parents often trust private players more than recognised colleges and pay lakhs of rupees for such an arrangement.While the government needs to take strict action against such illegal institutes, students and parents should share equal responsibility in ensuring such classes do not mushroom.

Man held for vandalising crosses to be questioned: Goa Police

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 50-year-old man, arrested for the alleged desecration of holy crosses in South Goa district recently, will be questioned in connection with nearly 150 such cases reported from the state in the last 15 years. The special investigation team of Goa Police had on Friday night arrested Francis Pereira in connection with the alleged desecration of holy crosses in South Goa over the last fortnight. “We are investigating around 150 cases of desecration of holy crosses reported during the last 15 years in the state. A preliminary investigation has revealed that the accused was involved in those cases, but the inquiry is still going on,” Superintendent of Police (South) Arvind Gawas told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

CRPF’s helpline in Valley draws a blank, literally

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>’Madadgar’ — the helpline started by the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) in Jammu and Kashmir amid the strife over the last one year in an attempt to reach out to the masses — has drawn a blank. The force personnel at the helpline face a peculiar problem. While the phones ring continuously and calls are made every two minutes on an average, the complainants don’t speak most of the time.Of the 11,447 calls received, 10,290 were ‘blank calls’ and 895 were ‘missed calls’ in the first two weeks since the helpline was started.An analysis of the call data since the launch on June 16 shows that in the first two weeks till July 3, the helpline received 636 calls daily and roughly one call every two minutes on an average.Officials are surprised with the trend, saying the number of blank calls is “unusually high” and one of the reasons could be that people are checking whether the helpline number ‘14411’ really exists and is not a fraud.On the other hand, the complaints received range from medical aid to a Kashmiri facing harassment in Gurugram, a vehicle breakdown in a deserted spot within the state, a scuffle with a taxi driver and women being stalked.These, among 262 other cases, were followed up and in 118 cases, the complainant was satisfied, according to the CRPF’s review of the helpline.Over the last one year, after the gunning down of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani, who had become a poster boy, there have been violent clashes between stone-pelting mobs and security forces. This led to the civilian population eyeing the forces with suspicion and the decision to start a distress helpline was taken to win the confidence of the people.The CRPF has been promoting the helpline within the state, but now the force is also making efforts to reach out to Kashmiris living in other parts of the country and make them aware about it.”We have put posters on our vehicles and also advertised in the local press. Soon, we will be putting posters in educational institutions across the country that have Kashmiri students,” said Zulfiquar Hasan, Inspector General, Operations (Kashmir), CRPF….& ANALYSISThe CRPF has been facing flak from Kashmiri citizens for its perceived mishandling of stone-pelting incidents, and the force had planned the helpline to help change the perception of the people.
But the move to change its image has clearly not met with much success.

Rains lash UP, 5 killed in rain-related accident in U’khand

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The water level in the Ganga and Yumana rivers surged at several places in Uttar Pradesh as heavy rains pounded parts of the state, even as five persons, including three from Nepal, were killed in a rain-related accident in Uttarakhand. Weathermen predicted more showers in the two states tomorrow as also in Assam, where over 4 lakh people in 13 districts are bearing the brunt of floods. Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland and Manipur, which witnessed a series of landslides over the last fortnight, may also get more rains. Five persons, including three members of a family from Nepal, were killed and two others injured when a boulder fell on their car in Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh district. State government officials said the incident may have occurred due to incessant rains in the region since yesterday. Meanwhile, continuous rains over the last 24 hours led to a rise in the water level of the Ganga between Kannauj and Ballia in Uttar Pradesh. Light to moderate rain and thundershowers occurred at most places over the state’s eastern regions and at a few places in western parts. Heavy to very heavy rains were recorded at isolated places, the MeT office said. The level of the Yamuna is also rising between Hamirpur, and Naini in Allahabad. The Sharda river continued to flow one metre above the danger mark in Palia Kalan in Kheri. Though rainfall brought much needed respite from the heat, it led to land erosion at river banks and water-logging in several areas. In some parts where rains have been occurring over the last five days, there have been reports of trees getting uprooted, water entering residential areas and flooding of low lying areas. Light to moderate rains lashed many places of Punjab and Haryana bringing down the mercury. Though the maximum temperature was recorded within normal levels in the national capital, high humidity levels troubled the residents. The city had a high of 35.8 degrees Celsius and a low of 27.4 degrees Celsius. A shower overnight may provide some relief to Delhiites, the MeT office said. The maximum temperature dropped by one to two notches due to intermittent rains in parts of Himachal Pradesh. Gohar, which received 55 mm of rain since yesterday, was the wettest in the region, followed by Kasauli 30 mm, Jogindernagar 29 mm, Bijahi 28 mm, Dharamshala and Una both 21 mm, Baijnath 20 mm, Gaggal 15 mm and Sunni Bajji 13 mm of precipitation. The weatherman predicted a wet spell in the region for the next six days and heavy rains at isolated places in the mid and lower hills on July 10.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

DNA Micro Edit: When will MU learn from its mistakes?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Students who are about to graduate or complete their post graduation, or are nearing completion of courses under the University of Mumbai this year, are in for a harrowing time. Keeping its tradition of delays alive, the University has yet again failed to declare any of its results, leaving lakhs of students in the lurch.Delays in the declaration of results has been a common issue at the university over the last few years. Sometimes attributing it to technical snags, and blaming the lack of adequate staff at other times, most MU results in the last few years have been delayed beyond the 45 day deadline.In a move that only complicated matters, Vice Chancellor Sanjay Deshmukh announced that the varsity would evaluate all its papers in an on-screen medium to ensure transparency and efficiency.There were, however, long delays in beginning the on-screen process, with no bidders willing to take up the task initially, and later there were technical issues with teacher log-ins and wrong papers assigned to teachers. This has meant that the efficiency of the system has suffered drastically, with not more than 20 percent papers being evaluated as of date.To make matters worse, the university has not even communicated the real situation it is grappling with, to students who are asking where the transparency is.The next few days seem worrisome, as the future of all these students is at stake. The university has an unrealistic target of evaluating 19 lakh answer sheets in less than a month. Meanwhile, students are going to struggle with lost opportunities of higher education and job prospects for no fault of theirs.The varsity has failed miserably in achieving the objective behind the new process – greater efficiency and transparency.

Indian cyclist on peace mission to spread Gandhi’s message

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 26-year-old Indian social worker has embarked on a three-year ‘Pedaling for Peace’ cycling expedition to spread Mahatma Gandhi’s teachings among school children. Dnyaneshwar Yewatkar, who has a Bachelor of Arts (BA) in history, said he has completed 8,642-km of 70,000-km of his global cycling expedition. His expedition will be completed on October 2, 2019, in Pakistan, on Gandhi’s 150th birth anniversary. “I have travelled over the last eight months through Indo-China and ASEAN, meeting beautiful people who have been very warm in hosting me and giving me opportunities to share my thoughts and knowledge about the teachings of the Gandhi,” he told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

AAP may contest in selected seats in Gujarat

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With the AAP divided on whether to contest polls in Gujarat, the party leadership could choose a middle path and put up candidates in seats where it has good chance of winning.A section of state leaders is opposed to the party contesting the polls, while some feel that it should contest on all seats.A third section is of opinion that it should focus on selected few seats and put all its resources to ensure victory.A constituency-wise report, by seeking inputs from party functionaries from the state, has been submitted to AAP’s national convenor Arvind Kejriwal.Party’s Gujarat in-charge Gopal Rai held a two-day meeting with leaders of the state, where several aspects including political situation, prospects of the Congress, the principal opposition, issues related to farmers were discussed.The recent Patidar and Dalit agitation and its impact on the state polls were discussed with greater detail.Last week, the National Executive, the party’s second highest decision making body, decided to intensify its protests in states like Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh over the farmers issue.Gujarat goes to poll this year end while elections will be held in Madhya Pradesh by 2018-end.”No decision has been taken on Gujarat yet. At present there are several opinions, ranging from contesting all seats, to not entering the fray at all, to fighting on a selected seats,” said an AAP leader.The Political Affairs Committee (PAC), the party’s apex decision making body of the AAP, will soon meet and debate on all these aspects and take a final call.It is also unlikely that the party will not contest the polls.After the party’s victory in Delhi Assembly polls in 2015, the cadre’s morale got a boost and several state leaders from the BJP and the Congress have joined the party. For instance,Kanu Kalasaria from the BJP joined the AAP in 2014.Hardik Patel, the face of the Patidar agitation, and feisty Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani, are believed to be in touch with the AAP.For the last two years, Kejriwal has visited the state several times, launching vitriolic attacks on the BJP government over the Patidar unrest and alleged atrocities of Dalits in the state.To strengthen the organisation, the party, over the last one year, has also deployed its Matiala MLA Gulab Singh to the state.However, the morale of the party workers remains low due to AAP’s poor performance in Punjab and Goa and its humiliating defeat in MCD polls on its home turf Delhi.Following its lacklustre results in Punjab and Goa, Kejriwal had also skipped an important volunteers meet.Shortage of funds is also a major concern for the party and contesting a big state like Gujarat would also mean a larger monetary resources.”We have built our organisation in the state over the last two years and we are stronger at several places. It would send a wrong message if we completely abandon the plan to contest elections.”More importantly, the conditions are conducive for us to contest polls as there is a space for an alternative to BJP in the state. The middle path would be to contest on seats where we have strength. However, a decision on this will be taken by the PAC by assessing all the aspects,” the AAP leader said.

Heat builds ahead of India monsoon

Parts of northern India have seen temperatures rising into the high forties Celsius over the last few days.

Spike in cases of gastroenteritis, diarrhoea in city

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The blistering heat and the continuous spell of hot waves over the last few days has led to a spike in the number of cases of diarrhoea, gastroenteritis, typhoid, heat stroke and viral fever.”I have been having body ache and fever from the last two days. Doctors told me that it is due to heat exertion and have advised me to take proper rest,” said Anita Kumari, a resident of Lajpat Nagar.The maximum temperature recorded on Monday was 44 degrees Celsius. “In the last five-six days, there is a rise of about 20-25 per cent in the cases of heat stroke, dehydration, upset stomach, typhoid. Those who are diagnosed, are advised admission for three days, rest are given medications,” said SP Byotra, chairman, Department of Medicine, Sir Ganga Ram hospital.With temperatures expected to go up in the coming days, people are advised to stay indoors. According to the doctors, one should immediately seek medical help if high grade fever, dizziness and vomiting persist for more than two days.

ED issues fresh summons to separatist leader Shabir Shah

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The ED has issued fresh summons to Kashmiri separatist leader Shabir Shah in connection with an over a decade-old case of money laundering registered against him for alleged terror financing. Officials said the agency has asked Shah to depose before the investigating officer (IO) of the case here on June 6. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) had issued a similar summons to Shah on May 25 but he had failed to keep the date. Fresh summons have now been issued to Shah, they said. The central probe agency has issued several summons to Shah over the last few years in pursuance of the August 2005 case wherein the Delhi Police’s Special Cell had arrested Mohammed Aslam Wani (35), an alleged hawala dealer, who had claimed that he had passed on Rs 2.25 crore to Shah. Shah has never kept the dates with ED. He has in the past told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

DNA Micro edit: Is the balanced marking scheme a boon for pupils?

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A few years after its students started scoring sky rocketing scores, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), seems to have made its marking policy for class XII exams more stringent this year. While several students featured in the 90s brigade like every year, experts have observed that the overall number of top scorers have gone down this year.Over the last few years, there were a lot of contestations about the CBSE’s marking policy. Due to its marking pattern, students’ scores would most often be on the higher side. Students from the state board have been finding it difficult to compete with their counterparts from the central board taking up all the top spots in the most coveted colleges across the country.With the ICSE board becoming a prominent player in the country in the last five to six years, competition for state board students became even tougher as those from the ICSE board were given the option of picking the subjects of their choice, and would often score better than them due to the board’s marking scheme.In 2008, the Maharashtra government also introduced a percentile system to equalise the scores of students across boards to ensure that the state students do not suffer. It is from these criticisms and the whole controversy over marks moderation that the CBSE seems to have learnt its lesson. While overall dip in the number of high scorers might be seen as a bad sign, experts actually feel that a balanced marking scheme would benefit all students at large.

India Inc scores low in fighting cyber crime threats

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Corporate India has encountered rising cases of cyber crime, but incident response mechanism to tackle these risks remains low, finds out a report. According to EY’s Fraud Investigation and Dispute Services report, 89 per cent of respondents impressed upon the need to bolster cyber laws – 55 per cent for strengthening and 34 per cent for more clarity. “Corporate India’s exposure to cyber crime risks has magnified significantly over the last few years, with attacks becoming exceedingly complex, targeted and globalised,” said Arpinder Singh, Partner and National Leader, Fraud Investigation and Dispute Services, EY India. The report said a mobile workforce, increased sharing of personal and professional information on social media, and gaps in protecting this information could evolve as a significant cyber hazard. “The shift to a digital economy has also uncovered vulnerabilities in many organisations and highlighted the need to build strong cyber strategies. The ability to foresee and remediate future threats will separate the better prepared organisation from the rest,” Singh added. Less than half of the respondents surveyed are planning to increase cyber security spends, indicating that incident response is still not on the priority list. Organisations need to understand that the quantum of losses suffered because of a cyber breach will continue to escalate in future, and there is a heightened need to make investments in building robust cyber diagnostic programmes, provide remediation approach, cyber threat intelligence and incident response. The report by the EY’s team was prepared over 160 interviews with senior and mid management and over 50 per cent of the respondents are from listed companies.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Railways to soon have more three-tier AC coaches

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In a bid to handle the growing demand for air-conditioned rail travel, the Railways will soon increase coaches in AC three-tier class long-distance trains. Some of these trains may have more air conditioned coaches in another three-four months, sources said.The Railways took this decision after noting that the demand for three-tier AC coaches has consistently increased over the last few years. Till March this year, the Railways earned 33.65 per cent of its passenger earnings from journeys made in three-tier AC coaches. According to the Railways’ data, the passenger share in 3AC rose from 16.69 per cent last year to 17.15 per cent this year and subsequently Railways’ earnings increased from 32.60 per cent last year to 33.65 per cent between April 1, 2016 and March 10, 2017.Senior railway officials said there has also been a downward trend in journeys made in the sleeper class, whose share in passenger earnings has always been the most dominating. Sleeper class carried 59.78 per cent of total train passengers and contributed about 44.78 per cent of passenger earnings. Last year the share of sleeper coaches was over 60 per cent of passengers and 45.94 per cent of earnings. A senior official said that Railways is expecting passenger rush to further increase for three-tier coaches in the next two-three months because of the summer heat in most parts of India.”Every year, during summer, more and more people opt for air-condition coaches and mostly three-tier coaches as an economical option. But for some years now, we have been noticing an increased demand for three-tier coaches even during other months. Keeping this in mind, a decision has been taken to augment 3AC coaches gradually in some long-distance trains,” the official said.Pertinently, the Railways recently launched the Hamsafar Express trains which just have three-tier AC coaches. According to sources in the Railways, the response to Hamsafar trains was positive. Presently, four Hamsafar trains are functional and the government is planning to launch 20 such trains.Hamsafar trains are specially designed air-conditioned trains with bio-toilets, special dustbins, an optional facility of meals-on-the-wheel, adequate charging points and is disabled-friendly with Braille displays. But because the manufacturing cost of the coaches, the fare of Hamsafar trains are slightly higher than air-conditioned coaches of regular trains. It is in this context that Railways decided to increase coaches of long-distance trains because it wants air-conditioned rail travel to be affordable to most people in the country, a senior railway official said.

Protesting TN farmers drink urine at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Tamil Nadu farmers stage a protest at New Delhi?s Jantar Mantar for drought relief, drank their own urine on Saturday in another desperate bid to draw the government’s attention to their plight. The severe drought in Tamil Nadu last year and the scuffle with Karnataka that broke over the sharing of the waters, of the River Cauvery left many Tamil Nadu farmers in the lurch. The Centre has provided relief to the state government, but it has been acutely less than what was initially demanded. The protesting farmers have, in addition to drinking their own urine, worn sarees, eaten dead rats, stripped nude and have worn the skulls of deceased farmers. Reports say that, P. Ayyakkannu, who is leading the protest, said: “The government is not giving us water. So, we are consuming urine.” The protesters had yesterday said they would drink urine if the Centre failed to offer a solution to their problems within a day. On April 10, they had stripped in front of the prime minister’s office here to press for their demands Over the last 39 days, they have shaved half of their moustaches and tonsured heads, their kept mice and snakes in their mouth, conducted mock funerals, flogged themselves and carried skulls of other farmers who committed suicide due to debt pressure.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Protesting Tamil Nadu farmers drink urine to grab government’s attention

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Grabbing eyeballs with their novel way of protest, Tamil Nadu farmers on Saturday drank urine in another desperate bid to draw the government’s attention towards their plight.Over the last 39 days, they have shaved half of their moustache and head, kept mice and snakes in their mouth, conducted mock funerals, flogged themselves and carried skulls of other farmers, who had committed suicide due to debt pressure.The farmers, whose protest entered the 40th day, drank urine even as police tried to stop them.They have been demanding a loan waiver, a revised drought relief package and better support prices for their produce.P Ayyakkannu, who is leading the protest, said: “The Union government is not giving us water. So we are consuming urine.”The protesters had yesterday said they would drink urine if the Centre failed to offer a solution to their problems within a day.On April 10, they had stripped in front of the prime minister’s office here to press for their demands.

Congress rubbishes reports of Kamal Nath joining BJP, accuses saffron party of running malicious campaign

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Congress has rubbished reports of senior leader Kamal Nath quitting the party and accused the BJP of “spreading such rumours, malicious, negative insinuations and canards”.”The BJP is running a malicious, ugly whispering campaign to malign the seniormost Congress leaders…”We completely reject any such malicious and negative insinuation that the BJP is spreading,” Congress in-charge of the communications department Randeep Surjewala told reporters here.Asked about reports of Nath quitting the party, he said, “Instead of spreading such canards, the BJP should answer to the people of Delhi about corruption in the three civic bodies over the last 10 years.”Surjewala said the BJP had perhaps forgotten that Nath was not only the seniormost parliamentarian and one of the most experienced Congress leaders, but he was also the architect behind the re-crafting of the party’s strategy and narrative during challenging times.Whether it was 1977 to 1980, post-1989 to 2004 or as part of the government, Nath continued to serve the party as a worker, leader and the general secretary, he added.On others quitting the party, the Congress leader said, “The mettle of a leader or a person committed to a political party is tested not when the party is in power but during challenging times.”In today’s challenging times, those friends who have left the party can find the best place for them in the BJP as that party is very prone to attracting defectors nowadays, who are bereft of any ideology, direction or commitment to their own party, which is like the second mother to any political person.”

Girls constitute only 26% of total students at engg colleges

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Female students constitute only 26 per cent of total students in engineering colleges across India, public and private colleges put together. While this number has been at a constant for the last two years, there is a decline in the numbers over the last four year.A day after the Joint Admission Board of Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) approved supernumerary quota for women students, DNA analysed gender-wise enrollment of women in engineering colleges in the country over the last four years.The analysis shows that women’s participation in engineering colleges has been on a constant decline. Women students made a mere 26 per cent of the overall engineering students in the country in 2015-16 and 2014-15. The number was slightly better in 2013-14 at 27 per cent. While in 2012-13, the percentage was 34 per cent, it has constantly declined over the last four years.The data has been sourced from the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), which has thousands of public and private engineering institutions under it.The situation in IITs, which are around 19 in number is also similar. As per some surveys in the past, the number of women students in IITs has been around 26-24 per cent. This is the reason that government has decided to crate a supernumerary quota in these institutions for women.Explaining how this quota will work, a senior HRD Ministry official said, “Only if the enrolment of women to a course is low, will the supernumerary quota come in place. This is to balance the gender ratio in courses.”Officials believe that the low number of women students in engineering courses is because of the lesser availability of streams. Most of the science students either stick to conventional streams like computers or electronics while pursuing engineering or go for a career in medicine.“Female students opting for engineering stream go to computer and electrical engineering. There are few female students who pursue streams like civil and mechanical, because of the job profile that comes along with it. It would be more challenging for them to work on construction sites,” said a senior official at AICTE.

Hit by drought and debt, Indian farmers protest with human skulls and rats

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>By Nita Bhalla NEW DELHI, March 27 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – Indian farmers hit by drought and debt displayed the skulls of fellow farmers believed to have committed suicide, and placed live rats in their mouths at a protest on Monday calling on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to save them from starvation. The farmers, who travelled to the Indian capital from the southern state of Tamil Nadu, say lack of rains over the last year have led to crop failure, forcing many to take loans from banks and moneylenders to survive. “These skulls are all that remains of our brothers who killed themselves because they could not repay their debts,” said P. Ayyakannu, president of South Indian Rivers Linking Farmers Association, sitting by a row of eight human skulls. “It has come to the stage where hundreds of farmers are committing suicide due to the pressure of not being able to repay these loans, yet our prime minister is doing very little. We are here to demand Modi help us and write-off these debts.” The Thomson Reuters Foundation could not verify if the skulls on display at the protest in Delhi’s city centre belonged to farmers who had committed suicide. Tens of thousands of Indian farmers have killed themselves over the last decade – by drinking pesticides or hanging themselves from trees – as unseasonal rains and drought combined with lower global commodity prices have hurt farm incomes. More than 12,600 farmers and agricultural labourers committed suicide in 2015 alone – making up almost 10 percent of all suicides in India, according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). Almost 60 percent of the suicides were caused by bankruptcy and indebtedness or farming-related issues, said the NCRB, and almost three-quarters of victims were farmers cultivating land plots of less than two hectares (five acres). EAT RATS Since sweeping to power almost three years ago, Modi has introduced a national crop damage insurance scheme, promised to improve irrigation and input subsidies to farmers if a third of their crop is damaged. But farmers’ unions say the implementation of these measures has been slow. In searing midday heat, over 100 farmers dressed in green turbans and loin cloths sat bare-chested on the roadside. They chanted slogans and shared stories of watching their rice and cotton crops wither away, and spoke of borrowing money to pay their children’s school fees, buy food and even to repay existing debts. Some held up large white rats and placed the squirming rodents between their teeth — saying they would be forced to eat them in order to avoid starvation. “This is not just about the farmers in Tamil Nadu, but about farmers all over India. We are all facing the same problems,” said Rakesh Tikait, president of the Bhartiya Kisan Union, a union representing thousands of farmers in northern India. “We want the government to write-off all our loans, introduce a profitable prices for all agricultural products, and provide proper compensation for crop losses due to the drought.” Tikait said it was also necessary for the government to follow through on pledges to interlink river systems as a means of increasing water availability to drought-hit farmers.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

The court was hearing a plea by a firm on the issue of

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>delay in disposal of its application claiming VAT refund. The Principal Secretary was also directed to indicate in the affidavit “the steps taken to fill the vacancies on regular basis with cadre officers and furthermore, the requisitions made to the Delhi Subordinate Services Selection Board (DSSSB), the recruiting agency.” The Principal Secretary was also asked to indicate the level of cooperation received from DSSSB whose Chairman has also been asked to appear before the court on April 21, the next date of hearing. The Chairman of DSSSB was also asked to file an affidavit regarding the requests sent by the DVAT Department for filling up of pending vacancies, especially over the last three years and the current stage of such recruitment.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Jaitley proposes agri sector outlay of Rs. 10 lakh crore for FY18

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday announced various initiatives in the agriculture sector with a total outlay of Rs. 10 lakh crore for FY18. Jaitley in his speech led maximum focus on providing adequate and seamless flow of credit to farmers, particularly the small and marginal ones. ?To cover farmers from losses due to natural calamities the crop insurance coverage under the Fasal Bima Yojna will be increased from 30 percent of cropped area to 40 percent in FY18,? he announced. He also announced that post demonetization there were farmers who were left stranded with little cash to buy seeds, while the govt. made provisions for them to buy seeds with the old Rs. 500 notes from outlets administered by the government and public sector units. The FM also reiterated other initiatives, which have been announced over the last few months to trim the final borrowing rates for farmers. One such is NABARD, which expanded by Rs. 20,000 crore from the current Rs. 20,000 crore to allow the refinance agency to lend at cheaper rates to rural banks. Also, he announced that more than 40 percent of small and marginal farmers’ loan needs are met through the cooperative credit structure, which will benefit through these additional resources.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

J-K: Militant hideout busted, arms seized in Poonch

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The security forces busted a militant hideout and recovered a cache of arms and ammunition in Charmar area of Surankote in Jammu and Kashmir’s Poonch on Friday.A number of intensive search operations have been launched over the last four to five days in the areas of Rajouri, Surankot, Mendhar, Mandi, Thanamandi and in the upper reaches of the hills and forest to track down terrorists and ensure that peace in the area is not disturbed.During the deliberate search, the troops busted a natural hideout in which a large cache of arms, ammunition and other warlike stores were recovered.The recoveries include two AK 56 Rifles, two RPGs, two 9 mm Pistols, 302 rounds and 10 magazines of AK-56, four Chinese hand grenades, three rounds and two magazines of 9 mm Pistol, 88 rounds of Light Machine Gun, twelve rounds of sniper rifle, three anti tank rifle grenades and a mortar bomb. The recovery of these warlike stores has certainly dealt a big blow to the terrorists and thwarted their motive of using them for their evil designs in the Rajouri and Poonch districts.The complete area has been sanitised and is being continuously monitored.

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